Frances Tiafoe looked down and out against Elias Ymer in his opening match in Stockholm on Thursday night, but the American clawed his way to a 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2) victory over the Swede to reach the quarterfinals of the ATP 250 event.

It was also the 100th hard-court win of Tiafoe’s career.

“I definitely didn’t deserve to win today,” he said in his on-court interview.

“Elias was playing really well in the beginning. I was really flat, really negative—it’s been a long year and it’s been tough, so I was really tired out there.

“Big growth win for me to come back and win. He got a little nervous and I started upping my level, and he still played well in the third, but I was able to get it done.”

Ymer’s brother, Mikael Ymer, had taken out another American, Tommy Paul, in the first match of the night session, 6-2, 6-3, and Elias looked well on his way to making it a family double as he went up a set and a double break against Tiafoe, 6-3, 4-0.

But Tiafoe won five games in a row to lead 5-4 in the second set, and eventually took the set in a tie-break—the two then held all the way through the third set, where Tiafoe once again came through a tie-break to close it out.

Ymer finished with 20 aces and won one more point in the match, 109 to 108.

“Elias is a hell of a player. He just needs to believe in himself. He strikes the ball as good as anyone, and he moves so fast,” Tiafoe said of the Swede.

“I think the only reason I won is because he didn’t believe it in the end.”

Tiafoe's win over Ymer was his 32nd tour-level win of the year, now just one shy of his personal best 33 in 2021.

Tiafoe's win over Ymer was his 32nd tour-level win of the year, now just one shy of his personal best 33 in 2021.


The No. 17-ranked Tiafoe is now through to his seventh ATP quarterfinal of the year, and his fifth in his last seven events since Wimbledon—he was a semifinalist in Atlanta, a quarterfinalist in Washington D.C., a semifinalist at the US Open, a finalist in Tokyo and now at least a quarterfinalist in Stockholm.

He’s also won 15 of his last 17 tie-breaks now, a stretch that began in Cincinnati—the only two he’s lost since then came in his loss to Taylor Fritz in the Tokyo final.

Last but not least, it was the 100th tour-level win of his career on hard courts. He’s the sixth active American man to reach that milestone after John Isner (344), Jack Sock (129), Fritz (127), Steve Johnson (127) and Donald Young (102).